Jacques Cartier wondered about the world. Was it flat or round? How large was it? Was there a Northwest Passage—a way to travel from Europe to Asia without having to sail around Africa? Cartier was a French navigator who had been familiar with the sea from a young age, and he wanted to learn the answers to these questions. In 1534, he was given a commission by King Francis I to find the Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia. Instead, he discovered a new land—Canada and the mighty river that flows through it, the St. Lawrence. Although it has been over four hundred years since Cartier made his discoveries, Canada, and its people, continue to feel the influence of this great explorer.